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Steering Issues Drive Confusion

By Junior Damato, April 12th, 2014

strong>Dear Doctor: My 2005 Subaru Forester has 67,000 miles on it. When I turn the steering wheel to the maximum, like backing out of the driveway, I get a lot of resistance and a slight vibration. I have no problem with normal driving. I checked the power steering fluid level and it is where it should be. Edward

Manufacturer photo: 2005 Subaru Forester
Manufacturer photo: 2005 Subaru Forester

strong>Dear Edward: Make sure the power steering belt is tight. The high resistance and vibration could be due to low power steering pressure, binding in the power steering rack, or even something in the front end that is binding. If the problem is in the power steering hydraulic system, then you can flush the system. Use power steering fluid only and see if it makes any difference.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2012 Ford Focus SEdan. Every time I make a right turn (sometimes left turn) I get a cold breeze on my legs. The dealer could not find a problem. I would like to take the car to an auto. What do you advise? Mike

strong>Dear Mike: The steering shaft goes through the firewall and there is a large seal that can move when turning the steering wheel either way. If the car is not under warranty, then try looking for a AAA-approved repair shop in your area.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 1996 Buick Regal with 77,000 miles. It rides great, but intermittently stalls and then starts right up again.

I am afraid to drive it. Do you have any advice? Pearl

strong>Dear Pearl: Intermittent stalling is usually caused from loss of spark. Or, if it happens with your foot off the accelerator it could be carbon buildup on the throttle body, or an EGR valve that does not close fully or quickly enough. On your particular car I would look at the both crankshaft position sensor and camshaft position sensor. Both of these are common failing sensors that will cause intermittent stalling and instant restart.

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 2005 Pontiac Vibe with only 26,000 miles. My driving is local and I get the car serviced once a year with full-synthetic oil. The battery and wiper blades are all I have replaced. What other services should I consider? George

strong>Dear George: Service is the key to vehicle longevity. Changing other fluids is a good idea and not expensive. The technician can drain the transmission fluid and coolant, along with the brake fluid and power steering fluid. Check the brake material and make sure the caliper slides are not frozen. Tires also need to be checked for cracking and/or dry-rot. All door locks and latches should be lubricated with graphite.

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 2008 Nissan Pathfinder 4.0-liter V-6. The transmission was not shifting properly so I went to the shop. They checked the fluid and it was low, but there was no sign of fluid leaking. The technician said he has seen this before on this vehicle. He removed the radiator cap and found the coolant looked like a strawberry frappe. He said the transmission cooler in the radiator has failed and transmission fluid has entered the cooling system and after a check of the transmission fluid some coolant was mixed with the transmission fluid. At 104,000 miles I was over the manufacturer warranty. Have you ever seen this problem? Cliff

strong>Dear Cliff: There is no question that the radiator assembly is defective. This defective radiator cooler has been an ongoing problem for many years on some Nissan vehicles, especially your model. Your vehicle is out of the written warranty that Nissan had extended, but there is no reason why Nissan could not have made some kind of financial help to you on the repairs needed.

strong>Dear Doctor: We are interested in the new 2014 Toyota Corolla. Have test-driven it yet? Martha

strong>Dear Martha: The 2014 Toyota Corolla is redesigned. It has grown up into a great midsize car. The 1.8-liter 4-cylinder is mated to a CVT transmission that is very smooth and quiet, until you go for the full power. Then the engine stays at high power revving until you lift off the gas pedal. This is normal and common on vehicles equipped the CVT transmission. The EPA rating is 29 mpg city, 37 mpg highway.

Big Drop in Fuel Mileage: Get Engine Test


Big Drop in Fuel Mileage: Get Engine Test

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2014 Ford F-150 with the EcoBoost engine. The dealership cannot tell me why my gas mileage is at 9 mpg. It was 24 mpg when I purchased it. Can you help me out? Gerald

Gas Mileage Misread: Fuel System Needs Attention


Gas Mileage Misread: Fuel System Needs Attention

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 2006 Ram 2500. The mileage calculator says I'm getting 30 miles per gallon in fuel economy, but I'm actually getting about 20 mpg. What should I do? Mark

Car Shakes at Idle: Check for Multiple Fault Codes


Car Shakes at Idle: Check for Multiple Fault Codes

strong>Dear Doctor: My 2009 Toyota Camry with 199,600 miles has a check engine light showing the codes P0101 and P0170. I have already replaced the MAF sensor, PCV valve, throttle body, the car's computer, O2 sensors, cam sensor, crank sensor, fuel pump, injectors, and fuel pressure regulator. I also checked for multiple vacuum or air leaks, and the cabin air filter, spark plugs, alternator, and battery have all been checked over the course of a year. Now the car has both codes showing consistently and it shakes at idle. What should we do? Cheyenne

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